Improving Efficiency with Advanced Production Floor Management Software

For the past few months, we at Rion have been implementing the MARS software for more efficient production floor management. With its help, we will be able to control what happens in the production hall better and faster and generate reports that will shed light on areas requiring streamlining and continuous improvement
May 26, 2024

As a subcontractor for plastic injection molding products, Rion is committed to efficient, professional, and high-quality work. To achieve this, we constantly strive to raise our level of operational excellence and introduce further improvements on the production floor. Alongside projects carried out by the Process Improvement Department, much thought was given to how to improve production floor management, especially given that we have grown to five spacious production halls.

Production Data Clarity – The Key to Success

In a previous interview with Nadav Zamir, the Operation Manager, he noted that improving data reliability is important, as accurate operational reports will enable drawing conclusions and streamlining production processes. “It’s quite a complex operation to manage five production halls, and there is a need for accessible information that provides a complete picture of the machine status at a glance,” explains Nadav. To do this, we at Rion began implementing a production floor management system called MARS – Manufacturing Reporting System, developed by the parent company Plasson.

Implementing the New System

Rion’s IT department took on the challenging task of planning a successful implementation process for the system. “At the beginning of 2022, we started the pilot project by connecting two machines to the new software. The pilot was successful, and during it, two real-time alerts about machine malfunctions prevented severe damage to the mold and contributed to reducing waste. The system’s advantages in controlling production process data were clear,” says Hila Barkan, IT Department Manager. The full scoping and gap analysis only began in the second half of 2023 due to time constraints, intending to go live with the first machines at the start of 2024. The project was led by Sagi Bohadana and Plasson’s MARS team. There was a lot of work to be done, including data cleansing, carrying out developments and customizations in Priority, planning and writing interfaces between the different systems. The Plasson team was also working on software developments and interfaces on their side. In addition, work was carried out in the production halls: adding communication points to the machines, connecting them to controllers, setting communication protocols, and more.

“After completing the development stages, we held several rounds of training. First, the leading team at Rion received training from Plasson, and then we trained all the users at Rion. At the end of January 2024, we went live with the first machine. Over the course of two months, with everyone’s hard work under a tight schedule and excellent cooperation between the Rion and Plasson teams, we managed to go live with 61 injection molding machines connected to the MARS software! A month ahead of schedule,” Hila recounts. “The new software has two main advantages that allow us to work in a more organized way requiring reporting, especially during setup. We have also upgraded the technicians’ work with 13 personal tablets, through which they can remotely access the system and see the status of the machines at any given moment.” The next step is to examine the feasibility of connecting the fusion machines to the MARS software, and we are in the middle of this stage.

First injection machine is connected to the MARS software.

The Production Hall is Changing

To give a heads-up to the machine operators, we launched an internal campaign at Rion explaining the importance of cooperating with the new system, which greatly contributed to its successful implementation. “If at first, the operators were a bit apprehensive about the change, today I’m happy to say that they are suggesting improvement ideas,” says Omer Ben David, Our Process Improvement Analyst. “You can already see the change in the production hall – large screens show the status of the machines at any given moment, and the Technicians know which machines to approach because everything is very visual. At the reporting stations in each production hall, there are additional screens displaying the MARS dashboard, which shows, in addition to the machine status, also production times, and malfunctions. All the data is exported to organized BI reports that really opened our eyes and made the work much more efficient.”

The people on the production floor also attest that the introduction of the new software brought good things and streamlining. “We are satisfied with the new software, it’s really good,” says Mohamed Wakid, an experienced injection technician. “I trained on the software at Plasson and was worried it would be difficult for the people on the production floor to adapt to it, but it was really easy, as if we had been working with it for many years. With the tablet, I can see all the data without having to run from hall to hall. This really shortens and streamlines the process, and also makes it easier for us, the technicians and operators. We can report the setups directly into the software quickly and accurately, without having to report to the shift supervisor. This way, we can start working in a shorter time.”

Mohamed Wakid is standing next to the injection machine connected to MARS software.

Ofir Kimchi, the Production Manager, says he sees and hears good feedback from the production floor staff, and the operators see the MARS software as something new and challenging in their work. “They understand that although they are dealing with learning something new, the software makes it easier for them and brings all the data right in front of their eyes.” Ido Romano, Head of the Injection Technicians Department, adds: “I strongly supported the introduction of the software, mainly because it helps me and the setup technicians to see the data remotely. The tablets help all of us, and although it requires adjustment, it is an excellent tool that brings a great improvement to our work.”

Going live with the MARS software in Rion.